Labour: Spending cuts hit most-deprived areas hardest

A child in a deprived area Labour says the cuts in the most deprived areas are shocking

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The most disadvantaged communities in England are facing the biggest local government cuts, Labour has claimed.

Between 2010/11 and 2015/16, it says, the percentage cut in spending will be 10 times greater in the most deprived areas than in those least deprived.

But the government says the most-deprived councils still have £1,000 more per household to spend than those where deprivation is lowest.

Shadow communities minister Hilary Benn said the figures were "shocking".

He added: "They show the impact of David Cameron and Eric Pickles's unfair policies."

'Clear link'

The Labour Party says its research combines analysis from Newcastle City Council on the amount which councils across England have to spend on services with the government's own figures for "multiple deprivation".

Cuts in top five most and least deprived local authorities

Most deprived

  • Liverpool City Council - 27.1%
  • London Borough of Hackney - 27.1%
  • London Borough of Newham - 27.7%
  • Manchester City Council - 26.1%
  • Metropolitan Borough of Knowsley, Merseyside - 27.4%

Least deprived

  • St Albans City and District Council, Herts - 3.6%
  • Rushcliffe Borough Council, Notts - 9.4%
  • Harborough District Council, Leics - 4%
  • Elmbridge Borough Council, Surrey - 2%
  • Waverley Borough Council, Surrey - 1.3%

Labour has published this information in a graph which it says shows the "clear link between cuts in spending power and deprivation".

As deprivation increases, the "cumulative cut" between 2010/11 and 2015/16 also appears to rise.

The 10 most deprived areas, which include Liverpool, Hackney, Manchester and Middlesbrough, face an average reduction in spending power of 25.3%, according to Labour.

The party says the 10 least deprived areas, which include St Albans, Elmbridge, Waverley and Wokingham, are dealing with an average cut of just 2.54%.

Deprivation is measured using indices previously published by the Department for Communities and Local Government. The measure includes income, employment and health deprivation, as well as disability, crime, education and barriers to housing and services.

Competing arguments

It's not the first time the government has faced accusations of unfairness in council funding, and ministers have swiftly rebutted Labour's figures.

The local government minister, Brandon Lewis, said: "The coalition government has delivered a fair settlement to every part of the country, north and south, rural and urban, metropolitan and shire.

"Councils facing the highest demand for services continue to receive substantially more funding... This shows that the government understands the pressures faced by deprived authorities."

The difficulty with assessing the validity of the competing arguments about the funding squeeze is that councils are raising money in different ways.

A deprived area in the UK Ministers say councils should not rely so much on central government handouts

Those areas of high deprivation tend to be the ones that are very reliant on grants from central government.

In places such as Liverpool, Newcastle and Birmingham, large money transfers from government departments are used to pay for many services.

The least deprived, which include parts of Surrey and Sussex, tend to fund their services mainly through council tax and charges for things such as parking.

Cuts in central government grants, by their nature, tend to hit those areas most dependent on government support.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has argued that action was taken to dampen the effect, by making sure that those areas most dependent on government grants had lower reductions in central government funding.

Building more homes

Ministers also believe that councils should in the longer term become more efficient and less reliant on central government handouts.

They have repeatedly expressed a desire to end the "begging bowl" culture of councils totting up their "needs" and then sending the bill to central government.

Local authorities are encouraged to find ways of developing their own income, for example by keeping a share of the proceeds when the amount raised by business rates increases.

Ministers say councils are also being rewarded for building more homes and generating jobs.

But closing the gap between the most deprived and least deprived areas will take a long time, if indeed it is happening at all.

Labour says, in the meantime, local government cuts are hitting those most in need.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 84.

    Howesyourview - "But after watching Benefits Street, I hate to say it but I feel less sympathy for a lot of them."

    Haha. I expect accurate, representative & truthful programming from the people that brought us 'Fat Gypsy Weddings'. It's not going to be falsified, sensationlist trash at all!
    On a separate note, I've got some magic beans for sale, you seem like the type who'd be interested?

  • rate this

    Comment number 83.

    Wulf Sternhammers Happystick @ 69
    "How about looking at the people who spend the money."


    We learn today that taxpayer's money is being used to sabotage the Sochi games:

  • rate this

    Comment number 82.

    I read in the Daily Fail today (which I read for the comments, they are hilarious!) that the Council of Europe claims that UK benefits payments are grossly inadequate.

    Of course the comments were full of lunatics saying people get paid too much.

    The UK populace is completely brainwashed into believing that this country is on its knees financially & some have it too easy.

    Its all a bloody lie!

  • rate this

    Comment number 81.

    It's clearly extremely hard for people to emerge from a life of poverty, who would choose to such a tough life?

    Some of the recent reform has forced a more work-focused attitude, but you have to wonder if it is really addressing the need for support and development?

  • rate this

    Comment number 80.

    2 Minutes ago
    Astonishing that people still blame the tories for the weakest in society suffering.
    Not astonishing at all, just a fair reflection of the facts and history.The debt is bigger now than it ever was under Labour and yet tax rates have been cut more for the rich than for the poor.As I said earlier even under thatcher the top rate of tax was 62%, was she a left wing liberal?

  • rate this

    Comment number 79.

    The mess we are in is the result of generations of "Red ping / Blue Pong" politics.

    WE have been MISgoverned by useless "professional" MPs for most of my life.

    We have a TWO party dictatorship which is worse than a ONE party dictatorship because they are always find ways of obstructing each other to the detriment of the country.

    It is time for a change.

  • rate this

    Comment number 78.

    Maybe I am being a bit daft here, but the goverment are saying that the most deprived areas need to stop relying on handouts and generate their own income but if these areas have no jobs, less investment, poorer population and higher crime rates how is this ever going to be possible?

  • rate this

    Comment number 77.

    Is it any wonder Liverpool is at the top?

    The mayor was on the radio complaining his city was hardest hit, that I wasn't getting the regeneration money its been getting for decades.

    Except of course all those millions that's its spent on new conference centres et al evidently has not resulted in anything but vanity projects for its councillors. Stopping such waste is therefore justified

  • rate this

    Comment number 76.

    Of course this cuts are hitting the worst off hardest - the Tories policy is always to hit the poorest in our society and then to create divisions in society between the haves and have nots! Why is it our welfare bill is "unaffordable" but cuts to the most well off can be made, why is our NHS under threat of privatisation, our public services cut- because the Tories are in power that's why!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 75.

    No sh** Sherlock-these people dont vote Tory so they wont get anything from a Tory Government what do you expect!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 74.

    East Europeans travel hundreds, sometimes thousands of miles to come here to find work because a lack of well paid work in their home states. The fact that there are 800000 here proves the jobs are in excistance.

    Yet there seems a reluctance of many Britains to work in the next town let alone move to another area that has good jobs in their particular field.

  • rate this

    Comment number 73.

    Deprived areas just do not spring up. They are made by people. Once proud areas decline because of the people who inhabit them. I see this across Merseyside in particular. Years of pouring money into this has had no impact.

  • rate this

    Comment number 72.

    Well,they would, wouldn't they!

  • rate this

    Comment number 71.

    I think life was actually better during the "Winter of Discontent" than it is under the Tories today.

  • rate this

    Comment number 70.

    Back in the day mainly northern blue collar towns created wealth from manual employment and funded their local services accordingly. Similarly in the south with their more white collar base ( a generalisation, I know.)

    Govt then decided to close down manual industry and replace it with either nowt or pointless jobs - leading to today's woeful wastelands - human and geographic.

  • rate this

    Comment number 69.

    How about looking at the people who spend the money.
    Look at how much councils waste.
    I think about 20 Welsh councils want to merge into 7(?)
    At an estimated £200 million.
    That's what I call a bargain for a few letterheads changed etc etc.

  • rate this

    Comment number 68.

    39. Man in the street
    Cuts sometimes have very bad outcomes for ordinary folks - look at the Environment Agency where the cuts have hampered the flood defence efforts.

    They found £31m for a bird sanctuary but couldn't find £5m for dredging. It's all the fault of the "cuts" of course.....

  • rate this

    Comment number 67.

    59.Hunter S Thompson
    Yeah, but one generation of unemployment after another, you can't just blame the government anymore. Lack of work ethics is fuelled by the welfare state.
    I can see why you'd blame the government, but these people are adults - just because someone hands you a diaper, doesn't mean you should wear it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 66.

    33.annieavatar "Ah - more electioneering - and stating the bleeding obvious."

    That's not electioneering, the people most affected by the cuts are probably likely to vote Labour anyway. What is nasty is the tory trick of punishing people who are affected by the anti-social policies such as the Bedroom Tax, people who are unlikely to vote tory, so the tories know it won't cost them votes.

  • rate this

    Comment number 65.

    I think that whilst this story is biased in that it doesn't provide a fair reflection of the disproportionate spending these areas receive in the first place, I also think there will be benefits.

    When LA's have more money to spend it often goes into creating more jobs (often non jobs). This sucks in well qualified people who could be creating greater value and more jobs in the private sector


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